Making Peace With Your “Inner Perfectionist”

Published on May 3, 2012 by

If you want to do better work, feel better about yourself, perform at higher levels and surprise yourself by how brilliant you are, consider making peace with your "Inner Perfectionist". After all, do you really need to demand so much from yourself so often?

Of course, you don't really have an "Inner Perfectionist" living inside you, but it's a useful metaphor. And many people would say it feels like they do have "someone" living inside themselves that is downright too demanding and too hard to please.

If you stop to think about it, how much energy, creativity and peace of mind is spent by (you) demanding perfection of yourself?

Perfectionism has to do with fear, worry and self-doubt. It's about the fear of failing, the fear of not measuring up and the fear of falling short...of perfection. It seems that an "A" is not acceptable to many people; an "A+" is demanded!

When is "good enough" — enough for you?

If you don't know yet, that's fine, after all, you're not perfect! But if you want to let go of needing to be perfect, here are three things you might want to know.

Embrace Your "Inner Perfectionist." Listen to what it is saying and thank it for it's contribution and support. Realize it is there to help you the best way it knows how. Listen to your "inner perfectionist" without judgment. Have a conversation with it and be nice. You can fight your "inner perfectionist" but you won't win because it's perfect and you aren't.

Let Your "Inner Perfectionist" Have The Final Say...Sometimes. There are times when it's important to go way beyond "good enough." That's ok. Spend the extra hours and do whatever it takes to make everything "perfect." The trick is to know when something really has to be done at the level of "perfection" and when less than "perfect" is actually quite perfect.

Talk With Your "Inner Perfectionist." Many coaches would tell you to tell your inner perfectionist to "Shut up!." I wouldn't recommend that unless you want to do battle with it. But where will that lead? Instead, have a respectful chat with you inner perfectionist and connect with it. Gently influence your inner perfectionist to consider other perspectives and viewpoints about the matter at hand. Remember Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People"; why not apply his principles of effective communication to how you relate to and talk with yourself?

Be Patient With Yourself And your "Inner Perfectionist." Making peace with your "inner perfectionist" isn't going to happen overnight. Your "inner perfectionist" has had a lot of time over the years to get really good and strong. It thinks it's right and you are wrong and is afraid you want to completely cut it out of your life.

That's why you should make peace with your "inner perfectionist" and develop a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship with it. That takes patience and love. Lots of it.

Perfectionism has its place but when it takes over it can become a tyrant. Embrace your "inner perfectionist," let it have the final say sometimes and be patient with yourself along the way. Give it a try and see what happens.

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